How to Find Your Nonprofit Match
Before you read this blog today, I want you to try something.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Write down five things that matter to you. Go ahead, I’ll wait a few minutes for you to do this before continuing.
What’s on your list? For me I have the following:
- My family
- Spending time in nature
- A warm home in winter
- Having a great childhood
Your list might look a bit like mine. Or maybe you wrote down different things. The good news is that there are no right answers.
We all have things that matter to us. Every time it gets really cold out, I can’t help but think about the people who don’t have a warm home. The moment those thoughts come to my mind I want to do something. Perhaps you are experiencing some of that conviction?
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are 1.5 million charities, nonprofits, private foundations, etc. in the United States. There’s no shortage of organizations that are supporting the causes you care about.
But how do you decide who to support? How do you find your perfect nonprofit match? And for those of us who are Christian—how do you know if a nonprofit is really working to share the gospel message?
Today, I want to help you find the perfect nonprofits to support. If you’re still not sure if you’re ready to give I would encourage you to check out my blog, 3 Ways I Knew I was Ready to Give.
Decide what matters most to you
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:37-40
Giving is such a unique expression of gratitude for all that God has given you.
It’s a time when we get to use the gifts that God has given us to be a blessing to others. Look at how God sees your generosity in Matthew 25, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Consider both what matters to you and rejoice that you get to serve God with your generosity.
Here’s an example of how this looked for me:
It breaks my heart when I think of a little kid whose heart is hurting because they don’t know Jesus. There were many times in my life when a difficult situation was made easier because my mom prayed with me, or a teacher shared a Bible story to help me see God’s goodness.
I want to support a nonprofit that not only helps kids connect with Jesus but also helps them heal from any struggles they might face.
Step 1 done. I want to support kids who are hurting
If you're unsure where to start, talk with your friends about nonprofits they like. It's a great way to figure out what options exist.
Investigate some possible nonprofits
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
Once you decide what cause you want to support, it’s time to do some investigative work. This process can take as long as you want. You can research nonprofit options online. Or you can talk with your friends and family to see if they know of any nonprofits that do that work.
After you have a short list of some possible nonprofits, you can start digging into each one.
My desire to help kids is really, really broad. But (shameless plug alert) I know that Kingdom Workers has a foster support program that both supports the needs of foster families and foster children and connects them to Christ.
At Kingdom Workers, we try and make it easy for people to understand how and why we include gospel proclamation in each of our programs. We even have a whole page on our website dedicated to our statement of faith.
If you’re trying to decide on which nonprofit to support, it is a great idea to look at their mission and vision statements to see if you align with them. If you see they mention sharing the gospel and you like how they do it, great—you’ve found a nonprofit to support.
Step 2 done. Nonprofit selected.
Verify that this nonprofit or charity uses donations responsibly.
There are a few different ways to verify or see how a nonprofit uses their money. One of the best ways is to look up the nonprofit on Charity Navigator.
To do this, you simply type in the name of the place you want to support and see an easy-to-understand breakdown of how the organization used their funds.
This is a great way to see how much of your dollar donation goes toward programming vs. fun retreats for staff members.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is the data they share. At Kingdom Workers, our data analytics team is regularly working to evaluate the effectiveness of all our program work. This includes gospel proclamation.
So, when I look at the impact of the Foster Support program, I see that they are really helping make a physical and spiritual impact on the lives of the people being served.
Want more advice about how to vet a nonprofit?
Listen to what Kingdom Workers board director and CEO of BWF, Joshua Birkholz, has to share in his webinar How to Vet a Nonprofit.
One final tip I would recommend would be to ask your friends and family to join you in your giving. It’s always more fun to give with more people.
An easy way to do this would be to pick a charity on Facebook and ask for donations on your birthday.
Another option is to ask family members at Christmas to give to a nonprofit that matters to you instead of giving gifts. We do this in my family. We rotate who gets to pick the nonprofit each year and I really enjoy hearing from family members which nonprofits matter to them and why.
I hope these three blogs have been helpful for everyone who is new to giving and interested in learning more about how to have a better relationship with their finances.